Aggressive approach works for Bogaerts
Red Sox shortstop tallies his fifth four-hit game of the season
BOSTON -- All season long, the hits have kept coming for Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, and they're coming in situations usually reserved for proven veterans.
The lineup came alive again in Saturday's 11-7 win over the Rays at Fenway Park, and Bogaerts supplied a heaping portion of that production by tallying four hits and three RBIs. Two of those runs scored when he clubbed a double off the bullpen wall in right, which capped a four-run outburst in the second inning.
"As I said, this offense is capable of doing this on any given day," Bogaerts said, "and it was a good day [for] it."
A major difference-maker for Bogaerts this season has been a more aggressive approach at the plate. His swing rate has increased from last year by five percent, according to Fangraphs, and his contact rate on pitches thrown outside of the strike zone has jumped along with it -- from 62.2 percent in 2014 to 69.9 percent in '15.
Bogaerts is striking out less and hitting more ground balls that, with his ability to scatter the ball to all fields, have resulted in a drastically higher number of singles. He already has more in 101 games this year (94) than all of last season (88).
So while Bogaerts only claims three home runs to this point, he is far from frustrated when it comes to the lack of long balls.
"I know I have the power, so I'm definitely not even worried about that at all," Bogaerts said. "As long as I can keep doing what I'm doing right now, it'll be good. The power will come, for sure."
The performance improved Bogaerts' average with runners in scoring position to an American League-best .391 (34-for-87). It was also the 22-year-old's fifth four-hit game of the season and the sixth of his career, the latter mark tying him with Carl Yastrzemski for the second-most by a Boston player before age 23. Ted Williams leads the category with eight.
As Bogaerts continues to gain experience and further distance himself from the struggles of last year, his ability to overcome the tough games that inevitably crop up over a long season has grown stronger, as well.
"The biggest part for me is just forgetting about yesterday," Bogaerts said. "Today's a new day. Going out there, doing the best I can and helping the team win."